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Business Communications

(First Week)

Communicating in the Digital Age Workplace

—  Chapter 1, p. 4
—  People in today’s workforce communicate more, not
less, since information technology and the Internet
have transformed the world of work
—  Thanks to technology, messages travel instantly to
distant locations, reaching huge audiences with little
effort and expense
—  Social media also play an important role in business
—  This hyperconnection has made writing matter, since
digital media needs written communication
Communicating in the Digital Age Workplace

—  Many job listings mention the need for excellent oral and
written communication skills
—  Oral and written communication skills are a skill sought
by many people
—  Other desired skills are teamwork, critical thinking,
analytical reasoning
—  Social media presence is also important
¡  Your online activities can be seen by almost everyone
¡  Being well versed in using social media shows your communication
—  Communicating with and explaining to others are
expected at workplaces
Communicating in the Digital Age Workplace

—  Messages now come in so many various forms

—  In addition to occasional traditional letters and
memos, expect to communicate with the public and
within the company by email, instant messaging and
texting, company blogs, collaboration software
¡  such as Google Docs; we will be practicing the use of Google
Docs later on September 10 (Office Procedures)
—  And social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, YouTube, and most importantly,
LinkedIn, which is a professional profile
Communicating in the Digital Age Workplace

—  Professional Email Message (Ch. 1, p. 6)

—  Turn to Page 6: We will be reading a professional
email together to breakdown its contents, and to
better understand the content’s message
—  You will most likely be expected to write an email or
a digital message similar to the standards this
example holds
—  Don’t worry if it seems intimidating now! J
—  The point of the next courses is to learn about what
is expected in various Canadian workplaces, and how
to practice standard written works
Soft Skills (p. 6)

—  A rather new term, “soft skills” is a very important

concept to grasp
—  It encompasses how one shows professionalism,
which goes along with one’s technical knowledge
—  Soft skills are essential career aspects that include
the ability to communicate, work well with others,
solve problems, make ethical decisions, and
appreciate diversity
—  Soft skills can also be referred to as employability
skills or key competencies
Projecting Professionalism (p. 7)

—  Projecting, showing or displaying a professional

image can make a real difference in helping you
obtain the job of your deams (more in Ch. 10)
—  In a competitive job market, good communication
skills is very much needed and desired by businesses
—  Turn to Page 7: We will be reading about the
differences of unprofessional and professional habits
¡  Speech habits
¡  Email
¡  Internet
¡  Voice mail
¡  Telephone, cellphones and smartphones
Meeting the Challenges of Modern Offices

—  On Page 8, we can see the challenges of the

Information Age workplace
—  Rapidly changing communication technologies
¡  Business exchange information by so many ways now
¡  Emails, instant messaging, texting, smartphones, fax, voice
mail, laptop computers, and tablets
¡  Satellite communications (only seconds of information
transfer), wireless networking (distance is no longer a barrier),
teleconferencing (many people can communicate at once), and
videoconferencing (many people can communicate and see
each other)
¡  Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
More Challenges in the Modern Workplace

—  “Anytime, anywhere” and nonterritorial offices

¡  Flexible working arrangements allow people to work at home
or on the road
¡  “Anytime, anywhere” office requires only a mobile electronic
device and a wireless connection
¡  “Nonterritorial offices” or “hot desks” is when the first workers
to arrive get the best desk and the corner window, if they want
—  Self-directed work groups and virtual teams
¡  You may become part of a virtual team whose members are in
remote locations
¡  “Ad hoc teams”: project-based teams that disband after they
accomplish their goal
More Challenges in the Modern Workplace

—  Flattened management hierarchies

¡  For years now, many businesses have trimmed down/lessened
managerial roles; there are less managers
¡  Front-line workers make more decisions and communicate
more with the clients, employees or executives themselves
—  Heightened global competition
¡  To be a successful communicator, you will need to learn about
other cultures
¡  You will also need to develop intercultural skills including
sensitivity, flexibility, patience and tolerance
—  Renewed emphasis on ethics
¡  Businesses want to gain public trust, so they focus on written
ethical mission statements, installing hotlines, and appointing
compliance officers
Communication Technologies (p. 10-11)

—  Figure 1.4 of Pages 10 and 11 show the many types of

communication technologies used in everyday North
American workplaces
—  Cloud Computing and Web 2.0
¡  Businesses and individuals no longer need to maintain costly
hardware and software in-house
¡  Instead, digital storage space and software applications are
offered for free, or much cheaper, by providers online
¡  For example, there are photo- and video-sharing sites; e.g.,
500 Pixels and Flickr, Dropbox, and Carbonite
Communication Technologies (p. 10-11)

—  Telephony: Voice over Internet Protocol

¡  Allows callers to communicate using a Internet connection
¡  There are free or low-cost Internet telephony (having to do
with the working of phones) sites or “apps”, such as Skype
—  Voice Recognition
¡  There are software that enable users to say up to 160 words a
minute with accurate transcription (the program types out
what the person says, which makes communication easier)
¡  This is helpful for workers with certain disabilities

—  Open Offices
¡  More fluid, flexible, and open workspaces
¡  Mobile technology has allowed workers to be fully connected
and productive on the go
Communication Technologies (p. 10-11)

—  Smart Mobile Devices and Digital Convergence

¡  Allow workers to tap into corporate databases (where the
information of the company/business is stored), and intranets
(only worker-accessible information) from any location
—  Web Conferencing
¡  Allows workers to hold a meeting, or webinar, with customers
or colleagues in real time; e.g., WebEx, Microsoft Live Meeting
—  Videoconferencing
¡  Allows participating to meet in conference rooms with cameras
and television screens; e.g., Adobe Connect, Skype, FaceTime
—  Electronic Presentations
¡  PowerPoint (what I’m using), Keynote, Prezi & Google Slides
Overcoming Barriers to Effective Listening

—  Listening is an important skill

—  BUT most of us are not good listeners
—  Some researchers suggest that we listen at only 25 to
50 percent efficiently
—  Do you ever pretend to be listening when you’re not?
Do you know how to look attentive in class when
your mind wanders far away? How about “tuning
out” people when their ideas are boring or complex?
—  Most likely, some of you will say yes
—  On Page 9, we will be looking at the barriers/
challenges to effective listening, and how we can fix
these issues
Overcoming Barriers to Effective Listening

—  Physical barriers
¡  People could have physical issues, such as hearing problems,
poor acoustics in the room (where the room doesn’t allow
sound to bounce off properly so everyone can hear), and noisy
—  Psychological barriers
¡  Everyone has a unique set of cultural, ethical and personal
values, so sometimes when the listeners encounters ideas that
oppose preconceived thoughts (what they already know), the
listeners “tune out” (ignore) the speakers and fail to receive the
—  Language problems
¡  Unfamiliar words can lead to miscommunication because the
listeners will not understand the meaning
Overcoming Barriers to Effective Listening

—  Nonverbal distractions
¡  Sometimes unusual clothing, speech mannerisms, body twitches, or
an eye-catching hairstyle can cause distractions, to the point of
preventing listeners from hearing what the speaker has to say
—  Thought speed
¡  Some people can process what they hear faster than the speaker can
say, so sometimes we can be bored and allow our minds to wander,
which would make us become distracted
—  Faking attention
¡  Pretending to pay attention can make it hard for one to concentrate
when they want to
—  Grandstanding
¡  Most people prefer to speak over the speaker, but this takes away
from properly listening to the speaker
Building Better Listening Skills

—  Stop talking
—  Control your surroundings
—  Establish a receptive mindset (be positive)
—  Keep an open mind (be unbiased)
—  Listen to main points
—  Capitalize on lag time
¡  Instead of allowing your mind to wander, try to see what the speaker
will sat next
—  Listen between the lines (implied information)
—  Judge ideas, not appearances
—  Hold your fire (don’t jump to false conclusions)
—  Take selective notes (writing notes about discussion)
—  Provide feedback (ask questions, make observations)
Nonverbal Communication Skills

—  On Page 13, we will learn about what nonverbal

communication means
—  Nonverbal communication includes all unwritten
and unspoken messages, whether the communicator
means to convey these messages or not
—  These silent signals have a strong effect on the
people paying attention to the communicator
—  Think about it: does a downward glance indicate
modesty? Fatigue? Does a constant stare reflect
coldness? Dullness? Aggression?
—  There are many ways to interpret a silent action, but
it means a lot most of the time
Nonverbal Communication Skills

—  In fact, researchers believe that much of any

message’s idea(s) are sent through nonverbal actions
—  Psychologist and philosopher Watzlawick claimed
that we always communicate, even when we don’t
mean to; we’re always revealing information
somehow, through the eyes, face, and body
—  Eye contact
¡  Canadian culture believe that looking directly at people is good
¡  Good eye contact enables the message sender to see whether
the receiver is paying attention, showing respect, responding
well, or feeling distressed
¡  It also reveals the speaker’s sincerity, confidence and honesty
Nonverbal Communication Skills

—  Facial expression
¡  Experts estimate that the human face can make over 250,000
¡  Most of us display our emotions openly, but some people have
“poker faces” which hide their true intentions and emotions
¡  Raising or lowering the eyebrows, squinting the eyes,
swallowing nervously, clenching the jaw, smiling broadly are
some voluntary or involuntary facial expressions that can
change the meaning of the information being shared
—  Postures and gestures
¡  A person’s posture can convey anything from high status and
self-confidence to shyness and submissiveness
¡  Leaning toward a speakers suggests attentiveness and interest;
moving away might show fear, distrust, anxiety or disgust
Territory Sends Silent Messages

—  Anthropologist Edward T. Hall formulated the Four

Space Zones for Social Interaction, which is very
common knowledge in North America
—  In fact, you should take note of the preferences of
North Americans, in order to better understand
proper and appropriate distance between you and
another person to convey nonverbal messages
—  Also note that North Americans, especially
Americans, can tend to be standoffish (distant and
Four Space Zones for Social Interactions
Appearance Sends Silent Messages

—  Eye appeal of business documents

¡  The way an email, letter, memo or report looks can have either
a positive or negative effect on the receiver of the message
¡  Sloppy, messy-looking, disorganized emails can send a
nonverbal message that you are in a hurry or that you do not
care about the receiver/reader
¡  Letters and reports can look neat, professional, well organized,
and attractive
¡  Soon we will be learning how to properly write and present
these types of writing
Building Strong Nonverbal Skills

—  On Pages 15 to 16, we can read about ways to correct or avoid

nonverbal skills issues
—  Establish and maintain eye contact
—  Use posture to show interest
—  Reduce or eliminate physical barriers
—  Improve your decoding skills
¡  Pay attention to facial expressions and body language
—  Probe for more information
¡  Express confusions politely; ask questions to gain more info

—  Interpret nonverbal meanings in context

—  Associate with people from diverse cultures
—  Appreciate the power of appearance
—  Observe yourself on video
—  Enlist friend and family (let them to help you improve)
How Culture Affects Communication

—  On Page 16, we will now look at how culture can affect the way
we share information and receive information from people
whose cultures we may share, understand or not at all
—  Verbal and nonverbal meanings are even more difficult to
interpret/understand when people are from different cultures
—  Culture is defined as “the complex system of values, traits,
morals, and customs shared by a society, region, or country”;
culture is a powerful operating force that influences the way
we think, behave and communicate
—  There are 5 key dimensions/parts of culture: context,
individualism, time orientation, power distance, and
communication style
How Culture Affects Communication

—  Individualism
¡  Members of low-context cultures (i.e., North Americans) tend
to value individualism
¡  Individualism favours initiative and self-assertion in order to
reach personal achievement
¡  Individualistic people believe in individual/independent action
and personal responsibility, and they desire freedom in their
personal lives
¡  On the other hand, people from high-context cultures are more
¡  Collectivistic people encourage membership in organizations,
groups, and teams; and push for group values, duties, and
How Culture Affects Communication

—  Time orientation
¡  Not every culture interprets time the same way

¡  North Americans, or other low-context cultures, perceive time

as a valuable factor, so we tend to organize things in specific
time slots and do not offer flexible schedules often
¡  We also like to be on time, and emphasize punctuality

¡  On the other hand, most high-context cultures, such as South

Americans are more lenient, easygoing and flexible with timing
¡  Eastern cultures, which are high-context cultures, often plan
fewer and longer meetings, whereas Western cultures plan
shorter appointments in specific intervals, such as 15- to 30-
minute meetings
How Culture Affects Communication

—  Before we continue, keep in mine that Canadians

value both individualism and collectivism (most
likely due to our acceptance of our multicultural
country), and Canadians equate time with
productivity, efficiency and money
—  Power distance
¡  In cultures with high power distance, subordinates expect
formal hierarchies (there are people at the top, and people
below them in decreasing levels of status and power)
¡  Low power distance cultures, there are no such things as
higher or lower statuses, but people are at equal levels
¡  For example, in Canada or other Western cultures, we do not
show respect to people simply because they’re older, richer or
have more experience; respect is typically earned
How Culture Affects Communication

—  Communication style
¡  To Canadians, words are very important, especially in contracts and
¡  In contrast, high-context cultures emphasize the surrounding context
on the words
¡  For example, a Greek person may think of a contract as a formal
statement, but a Japanese person may treat contracts as statements
of vague intentions but assume that changes will be made as project
develop (and may also change in nature)
¡  Mexican people may see contracts as artistic, open exercises of what
needs to be accomplished if their circumstances were ideal, whereas
Arabian people may be insulted if you mention the use of a contract
(it may seem like you don’t trust their word)
¡  Canadians value straightforwardness, and are suspicious of
evasiveness, and distrust any “hidden agenda” (lying)
How Culture Affects Communication

—  Social media
¡  As mentioned earlier several times, social media play an important
role in business communications, especially nowadays
¡  Social media expert Clay Shirky claims that “digital media is an
amplifier. It tends to make extroverts more extroverted and
introverts more introverted”; i.e., people who are outgoing and like to
be around many people show these personality traits more obviously
online, while people who are shy and silent stay that way when using
online platforms such as social media
¡  There are cultural differences in how we use social media
¡  Namely, when it comes to portraying/displaying our pictures on
profiles, low-context & individualistic cultures show their faces,
whereas high-context & collectivistic cultures prefer using avatars,
such as cartoons or anime characters, or use their pets as their profile
Intercultural Workplace Skills

—  Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s

own culture and group
—  A stereotype is an oversimplified perception of a
behavioural pattern applied to entire groups
—  Developing intercultural tolerance means practising
empathy, being nonjudgmental, and being patient
—  Tolerance means learning about and appreciating
beliefs and practices different from your own
¡  It means being open-minded to new experiences
—  Empathy means trying to see through someone else’s
eyes, to understand their perspective better
Success with Intercultural Audiences

—  Since everyone comes from different background, it is

important to keep these tips in mind
—  Use simple English (avoid expressions or explain)
—  Speak slowly and enunciate clearly (avoid patronizing
however; be careful about judging)
—  Encourage accurate feedback (don’t pretend; engage)
—  Check frequently for comprehension (ask to confirm)
—  Observe eye messages (are they alert? tired? bored?)
—  Accept blame (graciously accept responsibility)
—  Listen without interrupting (again, no grandstanding)
—  Smile when appropriate (some cultures do not like fake smiles
and may perceive this expression as insincere)
—  Follow up in writing (when necessary, send an email/text)
Success with Intercultural Audience

—  And in terms of writing, written communication can

be successfully shared with many cultures when you
¡  Consider local styles and conventions (learn how most people
in the intended reader’s culture is done – Is it more formal? Is
it more informal? Can you casually write? Do you need to be
strict and straightforward? Can you make jokes?)
¡  Hire a translator/Use a translator or dictionary

¡  Use short sentences and short paragraphs

¡  Avoid ambiguous/confusing/vague wording; e.g., slang

¡  Cite numbers carefully; there are 3 countries that use the

Imperial numerical system, whereas the rest of the world uses
the Metric system (or both like in Canada)
Globalization & Workplace Diversity

—  Globalization is the expansion (or spread) of many

cultures affecting each other to better operate global
—  Diversity has many dimensions: race, ethnicity
(background), age, religion, gender, national origin,
physical ability, sexual orientation and other qualities
—  In the near future, the gender gap between working men
and working women will be smaller
—  This mean the workplace will be more diverse in many
dimensions, which is great because it expands our own
knowledge of the world, allowing us to become more
understanding and open-minded people
Benefits of a Diverse Workplace

—  A diverse staff is better able to respond to the

increasingly diverse customer base in local and world
—  There is a growing realization among businesses that
diversity is a critical bottom-line (must-have) business
strategy to improve employee relationships and to
increase productivity (how much work is completed)
—  Developing a diverse staff that can work together
cooperatively is one of the biggest challenges facing
businesses today – so you can help by learning all of this!
Tips for Communicating to Diverse Audiences

—  Finally, we are wrapping up Chapter 1

—  What we’ve learned today is not something that can
be done quickly; it will take time and patience
—  But many businesses are committed to spreading
and encouraging diversity; in fact, many companies
send out job postings that explicitly show that they
are interested in employees of different upbringing,
abilities and backgrounds in order to encourage
diversity in their workplace(s)
—  The suggestions on the next slide will improve your
communication with diverse audiences
Tips for Communicating to Diverse Audiences

—  Seek training (diversity is an opportunity, not a threat)

—  Understand the value of differences (which makes any
group or organization more innovative and creative)
¡  Even smart people working together can make an ineffective decision
if they cannot think critically or see different perspectives
—  Learn about your cultural self
¡  You are also a product of cultures – not just one! J
—  Make fewer assumptions
¡  You wouldn’t want anyone to assume facts about you
—  Build on similarities
¡  Be prepared to have your preconceived thoughts challenged
¡  Do not get offended; see these opposing ideas in different
Business Writing Process

—  Chapter 2, p. 28 – Planning Your Message

—  Communication: the transmission of information
and meaning from a sender to a receiver
—  Encoding: converting an idea into words and
gestures to convey/display meaning, which is done
most through words or images
—  Channel: medium over which the message travels
—  Noise: anything that interrupts the transmission of a
message in the communication process
Feedback Returns to Sender

—  On Page 30, we get examples on how we can

encourage feedback by asking questions such as
¡  Am I making myself clear?
¡  Is there anything you don’t understand?

—  Receivers of information can say lines such as

¡  Just to confirm what you’re saying…
¡  So you informed us that… Am I correct in assuming that…

—  We just reviewed Lasswell’s Communication Process

(1948), but there is another theorist, McLuhan
(1964) who argued that ideas are not always
presented in this one way; there are many ways we
can share information, such as texting, video, etc.
3 x 3 Writing Process (p. 30)

—  To make things easier, following a specific and basic

structure for writing will help all of us make sure that
we are communicating clearly
—  We’ll be writing messages but digitally (from a
machine that operates in binary code; e.g., phone,
tablet or computer) and also online accessible
—  Digital message: generated, stored, processed, and
transmitted electronically by computers using strings
of positive and nonpositive binary code (0s and 1s)
—  Although there are many media/channels where we
can practice digital writing, we will be focusing on
written information that occurs on the job
Defining Business Writing Goals (p. 31)

—  It’s not just what you want to say that’s important; it’s
also how your audience will react upon seeing/reading/
hearing your information
—  All workplace communication need to think about their
audience (Business English: “you” approach)
—  Writing for businesses should be:
² Purposeful
²  You should write only to solve problems and convey info
² Economical
²  You should present ideas clearly and concisely/briefly
² Audience oriented
²  You should solve problems and share info in the audience’s
3 x 3 Writing Process

—  Before we breakdown the steps of the 3 x 3 Writing

Process, let’s read the highlighted margin sections
—  Following a systematic process helps beginning
writers create effective messages and presentations
—  The writing process has three parts: prewriting,
writing and revising
—  1st phase: analyzing and anticipating the audience
and then adapting to that audience
—  2nd phase: researching, organizing and drafting
—  3rd phase: revising for clarity and readability,
proofreading for errors and evaluating for
Analyzing & Anticipating the Audience

—  On Page 33, we can see how we can make sure we’re

thinking about the different types of audiences
—  Try asking these questions before and while you’re
writing to remind you of your purpose:
¡  Why am I sending this message? To sell? To attract? To
¡  What do I hope to achieve? To gain more customers? To
keep the loyalty of customers? To send a simply message to my
boss or coworkers?
—  Remember that the primary purpose of most
business messages is to inform or to persuade
—  The secondary purpose is to promote goodwill
Anticipate and Profile the Audience

—  In order to ensure that you’ll effectively reach your

goal, you have to know your audience
—  Baby Boomers? Millenials? Generation Z?
—  How do I attract all of these different generations
with different interests? How do I expand my
company’s market? What about different cultures?
—  Although we can’t always know exactly who the
receiver is, it is possible to imagine some of that
person’s characteristics
—  Most importantly, try to answer this in the
audience’s perspective: What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)
Make Choices Based on Your Audience Profile

—  Profiling your audience helps you make decisions

about shaping the message
—  Profiling your audience helps you decide whether
your tone should be formal or informal, and whether
the receiver is likely to feel neutral, positive or
negative about your message
—  For example, Gen Z-ers love informal tone, but for
business writing, when you’re not sure, simply stick
to writing formally (it’s the best choice)
Select the Best Channel (p. 34)

—  Now that we know some things about how to consider the

audience’s perspective, we can now look into which channel
to choose
—  Whether to send an email, schedule a videoconference, or
have a face-to-face conversation or group meeting depends
on some of the following factors:
¡  Importance of the message
¡  Amount and speed of feedback and interactivity required
¡  Necessity of a permanent record
¡  Cost of the channel
¡  Degree of formality desired
¡  Confidentiality and sensitivity of the message
¡  Receiver’s preferences and level of technical expertise
Select the Best Channel (p. 34)

—  You also need to consider how rich the channel is

—  How do we determine the richness of a channel?
—  Richness: the extent to which it conveys all the
information available in the original message
—  For example, a richer medium, such as a face-to-face
conversation, permits more interactivity and feedback
—  A leaner (less rich), such as a letter of an email, presents
a flat, one-dimensional message
—  Richer media enable the sender to provide more verbal
and visual cues (nonverbal cues; e.g., facial gestures),
whereas leaner messages must substitute these cues with
Writing Techniques (p. 36)

—  Spotlight audience benefits

—  Cultivate a “you” view
¡  But don’t eliminate all I and we statements; sometimes, those
statements are needed
—  Sound conversational but professional
¡  Strive for conversational expression, but also remember to be
—  Be positive rather than negative
¡  Positive language creates goodwill and gives more options to
—  Express courtesy
¡  Avoid sounding demanding or preachy (you should, you must)
Writing Techniques (p. 41)

—  Before we continue, turn to Page 40, where we’ll be

reading a draft email and its revision
—  Employ bias-free language
¡  Sensitive communicators avoid language that excludes people
¡  Be careful when you’re using expressions that are biased
against gender, race, ethnicity, age and disability
¡  For example, someone with visual issues might be offended if
you tell them “if you can’t read this flyer, try squinting!”
¡  Or maybe you’re speaking to an older audience, and
accidentally offend them by advertising an item by saying it’s
only for younger people
¡  Let’s take a look at the charts starting from bottom of Page 41
Writing Techniques (p. 42)

—  Choose plain language and familiar words

¡  Jargon, similar to slang, describes technical or specialized
terms within a field
¡  Jargon is defined as terms that enable insiders to
communicate complex ideas briefly, but to outsiders they
mean nothing
¡  For example, human resources professionals know what
cafeteria plan is, which is part of their benefits option
program, but most of us just call it “lunch”
¡  Another example is how geologists refer to such things as plate
tectonics (borders within earth that can slowly separate;
usually where earthquakes occur), and physicians discuss
metastatic carcinomas (cancel cells that have started breaking
apart and spreading)
Writing Techniques (p. 43)

—  Use precise, vigorous (energetic) words

¡  Strong, powerful action verbs and concrete, specific nouns give
readers more information that is easily imagined
¡  This type of vocabulary enhances the reader’s interest

¡  Sometimes, expanding your vocabulary to choose simpler,

clearer yet interesting words will help you with writing
¡  The textbook suggests using any kind of thesaurus (online or
¡  Let’s take a look at some examples between the differences of
probably boring vocabulary and more exciting words
Drafting Your Workplace Message

—  Chapter 3, p. 46 – Researching Background

—  Research: collecting information about a certain
—  Business writers collect information to answer
several questions:
¡  What does the reader need to know?
¡  What is the reader to do?

¡  How is the reader to do it?

¡  When must the reader do it?

¡  What will happen if the reader doesn’t do it?

Second Stage of the Writing Process

—  Page 47 – Informal Research Methods

—  Most of the time, you don’t need an official survey to
do research; sometimes, you simply need to collect
information informally by
¡  Searching your company’s files
¡  Talking to your manager

¡  Interviewing the target audience (more in Ch. 9)

¡  Conducting an informal survey

¡  Brainstorming for ideas

3 x 3 Writing Process

—  Prewriting —  Drafting —  Revising

¡  Analyze: what do ¡  Research: gather ¡  Edit: aim for
you want the background date parallelism,
reader to do or ¡  Organize: arrange clarity,
believe? your message conciseness and
¡  Anticipate: what with the big idea readability
does the audience first ¡  Proofread: check
already know ¡  Draft: prepare the carefully for
¡  Adapt: consider first copy, using errors
how to get active-voice ¡  Evaluate: will you
feedback sentences and achieve your
coherence purpose?
Organizing Information to Show Relationships

—  Organizing includes two processes: grouping and

—  Business messages typically follow either
①  The direct pattern, with the main idea first, or
②  The indirect pattern, with the main idea following
explanation and evidence
—  Some writers make a quick list of topics they wish to
cover; they then write an outline from that list
—  Let’s take a look at Figure 3.2 to see an example of an
Direct Organization (p. 49)

—  Writing consultant, Diana Booher points out that

typical readers (at least in the Western hemisphere;
remember low-context, individualistic cultures)
begin reading messages by thinking, “So what am I
supposed to do with this information?”
—  So in business writing, you have to say, “Reader, here
is my point!” at the very beginning
—  A direct opening, also called frontloading, saves the
reader time, establishes the proper frame of mind,
and prevents frustration
—  Let’s look at the chart at the top of Page 50
Indirect Organization (p. 50)

—  Why use the indirect way, if we know most people

prefer the direct way?
—  The indirect organization of information can be used
to gently break bad news, to persuade people, or to
share sensitive news, especially when it is sent to
your superiors
—  Other examples are requests, sales letters, and some
oral presentations (a dramatic build up)
—  The indirect pattern works best when the audience
may be uninterested, unwilling, displeased, or even
Composing Drafts with Effective Sentences

—  Page 51 – What is freewriting?

—  Freewriting: when you get your thoughts down and
refine them in later versions
—  As you begin each idea, imagine that you are talking
to the reader
—  If you can’t think of the right word, insert a
substitute or type a note (“find perfect word later”)
—  Freewriting works well for some people, but other
prefer to move more slowly and think through their
ideas more deliberately
Variety with 4 Sentence Types

—  Page 51 – why use different types of sentences?

—  Using simple sentences make some information
sound patronizing
—  Using complex sentences can make information
difficult to understand
—  Using different types of sentences “spices up” or
invigorates your written work (but only when it’s
necessary, such as in persuasive writing)
—  Let’s look at the different types of sentences, starting
from the bottom of Page 51
3 Common Sentence Faults

—  This is review for us! J Recall Business English

¡  Fragment

¡  Run-on sentence

¡  Comma splice

—  Also, consider using shorter sentences

¡  Instead of using coordinators, sometimes it’s better to separate
sentences into shorter ones
Sentence Length Comprehension Rate
8 words 100%
15 words 90%
19 words 80%
28 words 50%
Developing Business Writing Techniques

—  Page 53 – show emphasis through mechanics

—  In class, or other face-to-face situations, we can emphasize/
pinpoint main ideas by saying them loudly or by repeating
—  However, we cannot really perform the same way in our
written works
—  We can emphasize main ideas/some information by doing the
¡  Underlining
¡  Italics and boldface
¡  Font changes
¡  All caps
¡  Dashes
¡  Listing
Developing Business Writing Techniques

—  Page 54 – show emphasis through style

¡  Use vivid, not general, words
¡  Label the main idea

¡  Place the important idea first and/or last

¡  Given the important idea the spotlight

—  Page 55 – de-emphasize when necessary
¡  Use general words

¡  Place the bad news in a dependent clause

(unfinished sentence that adds more
Developing Business Writing Techniques

—  Page 54 – use the active and passive voice effectively

¡  Active voice is easier to understand and shorter
¡  Mostly, active voice is used

¡  Passive voice is useful to emphasize and action,

de-emphasize negative news, and conceal who to
—  Page 56 – develop parallelism
¡  Parallelism: balanced writing by matching verbs
and/or adjectives in a sentence
Developing Business Writing Techniques

—  Page 57 – avoid dangling & misplaced modifier

¡  A dangling modifier is when the modifier is
missing a subject or a phrase
¡  A misplaced modifier is when the modifier is
placed more closely to the incorrect noun
—  If you feel like you’d like to practice your grammar
again, or expand your knowledge on it, this textbook
has a Grammar and Mechanics Handbook, starting
from Page 359
—  The answers sections is on Page 417
Drafting Paragraphs (p. 57)

—  First, write a topic sentence

—  Then develop supporting sentences
¡  The next sentences explain or strengthen the topic sentence

—  Let’s read the example on Page 58, starting with the

boldfaced Topic sentence…
—  And then build paragraph coherence
¡  Make sure the ideas connect well together
—  Lastly, control paragraph length
¡  Short paragraphs are preferable

¡  The most preferable paragraphs are 8 or less lines

Revising Your Message (p. 61)

—  A few important definitions before we look at how we

can revise our writing
—  Editing: improving the content and sentence
structure of your writing
—  Proofreading: correcting its grammar, spelling,
punctuation, format and mechanics
—  Evaluating: analyzing whether your writing achieve
its purpose
—  Make sure your message says what you mean and
makes you look good
Revising for Conciseness (p. 62)

—  In the revision process, look for efficient ways to say

what you mean
—  Could the thought be conveyed in fewer words?
—  Your writing will be more concise if you eliminate
flabby expressions, drop unnecessary introductory
words, get rid of redundancies, and remove empty
—  Let’s take a look at Page 62 & 63, at the differences
between flabby and concise terminology
Revising Digital and Print Documents

—  Page 63 – Find “Track Changes”

—  https://youtu.be/djNlYR258QI
In the case of GO Transit, they improved customer
satisfaction by adding more trips between Kitchener-
Waterloo and Toronto.
Because of the degree of support from upper management,
the plan worked.
We are aware of the fact that sales of new products soar
when pushed by social networking.
Except for the instance of Toyota, Japanese imports
She chose a career in a field that was analytical in nature.
Student writing in that class is excellent in quality.
Making Your Message Clear (p. 66)

—  Keep It Short and Simple – we’ll be reading the chart

—  Also, check out the flyer at the top of Page 67
—  Get Rid of Trite Business Phrases – let’s look at chart
—  Drop clichés – let’s read the clichés together
below the belt last but not least
better than new make a bundle
beyond a shadow of a pass with flying colours
doubt quick as a flash
easier said than done shoot from the hip
exception to the rule step up to the plate
fill the bill think outside the box
first and foremost true to form
good to go
Making Your Message Clear (p. 66)

—  Instead of using nouns that end with –tion, -ment or –ance, we can
simply use the verb forms to make the sentence “active” and easier
to understand
Long Nouns Brief Verbs
Conduct a discussion of Discuss
Create a reduction in Reduce
Engage in the preparation of Prepare
Give consideration to Consider
Make an assumption of Assume
Make a discovery of Discover
Perform an analysis of Analyze
Reach a conclusion that Conclude
Take action on Act
Making Your Message Clear (p. 66)

—  Make sure to also check that you’re using clear, precise words

Long Nouns Brief Verbs

She requested that everyone help Our manager asked each team
out. member to volunteer.

They will consider the problem Our steering committee will

soon. consider the recruitment problem
on May 15.

We received many responses. The Sales Division received 28 job


Someone called about the meeting. Russell Vitello called about the
June 12 sales meeting.
Enhancing Readability (p. 70)

—  Use white space

¡  To increase white space, used headings/titles/subtitles,
bulleted or numbered lists and effective margins
¡  Remember that short sentences (20 or fewer words) and short
paragraphs (8 or less lines) are the most effective for
readability and comprehension
—  Choose the appropriate typeface (“fonts”) p. 71
¡  In class, we will be using Times
New Roman, size 12
¡  Other fonts, such as Century Gothic, Arial and Calibri are
also acceptable
¡  For instance, these slides are written in Georgia
Other Enhancements (p. 72)

—  We can also enhance readability through mechanics

Other Enhancements (p. 72)

—  We can also write information in numbered lists or bulleted

Numbered List Bulleted List
Our recruiters follow To attract upscale
these steps when customers, we
hiring applicants: feature the
1.  Examine the following:
application •  Quality fashions
2.  Interview the •  Personalized
applicant service
3.  Check the •  Generous return
applicant’s policy
Other Enhancements (p. 73)

—  Lastly, you can use headings/subtitles/titles for

visual impact
—  Typically headings are used in reports, but you can
use them in long, informative emails
—  On the next page, we can see a good example of using
headings to organize a long email
—  Let’s read the draft version/copy of an
announcement email on Page 74
—  Notice the mistakes that were made
—  Afterwards, we’ll take a look at the revised version
Proofreading for Errors (p. 75)

—  Keep an eye out for spelling (Word or other online

software have what’s called spellcheck, which notifies
you if you misspelled a word)
—  Check for grammar (sometimes your online writing
software has an automatic grammar checker too)
—  Make sure you’re using proper punctuations
—  Lastly, format is very important
¡  Again, recall that margins, font size, sentence length,
paragraph length and even the type of font matter
—  Now let’s revise the summaries we started yesterday
About Emails (p. 84)

—  When are emails appropriate to use?

¡  Emails are great for sharing short messages that
may ask for more information or may respond to
¡  It’s also helpful when many people need to
receive the same information
¡  Emails are also used to attach important
documents along with a short message that
supports it (we’ll be practicing this later)
How to Draft a Professional Email

—  On Page 84, in the purplish box, we can see the

outline of many common emails
—  Craft a compelling subject line, which will
summarize the purpose of your email
—  Include greetings and a sign-off (complimentary
closing and signature)
—  Open with the main idea (unless it’s bad news or a
persuasive letter/email)
—  Organize the body paragraphs for readability and
—  Close effectively with action info, questions, date or
Daily Workplace Writing Channels

—  Chapter 5, p. 82 – Writing at Work in the Digital Age

—  What are the pros and cons of using email?

Benefits (Pros) Downsides (Cons)

quick, convenient, junk mail
can send to many can be hacked
recipients at once
can attach documents to can be traceable; not
email really “deleted”
About Emails (p. 84)

—  When are emails appropriate to use?

¡  Emails are great for sharing short messages that
may ask for more information or may respond to
¡  It’s also helpful when many people need to
receive the same information
¡  Emails are also used to attach important
documents along with a short message that
supports it (we’ll be practicing this later)
About Emails (p. 84)

—  What does an email consist of?

¡  Subject line: summarize the main information/request
¡  Greetings: say hello politely
¡  Opening: reveal the reason for writing immediately in a
longer form (complete sentence, compared to the subject
¡  Body: explain or justify the reason using headings,
bulleted lists, and other “high-skin” (easily readable)
techniques when appropriate (e.g., not everything can be
listed – social business letters)
¡  Closing: include action request, dates or deadlines;
summarize the message; or close to promote goodwill
and/or feedback
Memos (p. 88)

—  Before emails (and the common use of the Internet),

interoffice memos were one of the most common
ways to communicate at work
—  Memos are still useful for important internal
messages that require a permanent record or
—  For example, businesses use memos to explain or
promote changes in procedures or for new official
—  At work, there might be a memo template, where the
company’s letterhead is provided; same with Word
Memos (p. 89)

—  The Writing Plan for Memos

¡  Subject line: summarizes the content of the memo
¡  Opening: expands the subject line by stating the main
idea concisely in a full sentence
¡  Body: provides background data and explains the main
idea (Consider using lists, bullets or headings for
readability; and use command language [do this, don’t do
¡  Closing: requests a specific action, summarizes the
message, or presents a closing thought. If needed, add a
deadline and a reason
—  Let’s read the example (Figure 5.3) on p. 89
Letters (p. 90)

—  Even before memos, letters were used to carry

businesses for centuries (most of them were
—  However, letters are still common today, but most of
them are typed and emailed, or sent to homes
—  A letters is a powerful and effective channel when
¡  A permanent record is required
¡  The information is confidential

¡  The information requires formality and sensitivity

¡  Or the information is a persuasive, well-considered

Letters (p. 90)

—  You can find templates for letters in Microsoft Word

—  The Writing Plan for Letters (recall Business
¡  Letterhead: company name, logo, address, etc.
¡  Date and address: the date of the letter followed by the name
and address to which it is being sent (i.e., inside address)
¡  Salutation: greet the reader/audience

¡  Body: three sections usually – an opening, the body that

explains your main reason for writing, and a polite closing
¡  Closing salutation and signature: a polite “goodbye” with your
signature and title
—  Let’s look at the example (Figure 5.6) on Page 91
Instant Messaging (IM) p. 90

—  We’re all quite familiar with IM

—  Like texting, IM is a convenient option instead of
calling someone over the phone, or emailing
someone who may not be actively checking their
—  You may have worked at a company that had an in-
house communication system similar to IM, but is
exclusively for the workers of that company; e.g., TD
—  These in-house IM systems are very well protected,
and can offer a variety of media (video, voice mail)
Instant Messaging (IM) p. 92

—  Benefits of IM and texting:

¡  Real-time communication anywhere in the world
¡  Boosts productivity because of quicker responses and
convenient ability to multitask
¡  Usually low-cost (unless you’re traveling) and speedy

—  Downsides of IM and texting:

¡  Need internet; without properly working WiFi, IM does
not work well
¡  Need good signal; without a working signal, we can’t text
¡  Sometimes IM and texting could lead to unproductivity
Instant Messaging (IM) p. 92

—  Downsides of IM and texting:

¡  Sometimes IM can lead to more than just distraction on
the job – people who are too busy looking at their phone’s
screen might not be paying attention to their
¡  People who text and drive could be put into danger

¡  People who are texting while walking can also be in

trouble because they’re not looking at where they’re going
¡  Cellphones, computers, tablets, etc. can also be affected
by malware, viruses and phishing (scams) just by the user
opening a text/IM/email attachment they shouldn’t have
Instant Messaging (IM) p. 92

—  Most companies have specific rules about cell use

¡  Follow company’s policies: netiquette (online proper
behaviour), code of conduct, ethics guidelines and other
policies will describe when it is acceptable to text or IM at
¡  Don’t share sensitive, confidential information

¡  Don’t forward or link inappropriate photos, videos, etc.

¡  Don’t text or IM while driving; pull over if it’s important

¡  Separate business contacts from family and friends

¡  Avoid unnecessary chit-chat and know when to end chat

¡  Avoid slang, abbreviations, misspellings to look

Podcasts & Wikis (p. 94)

—  Today’s Internet users have the power to create Web

content (for free like Weebly)
—  We can also interact with businesses and each other
quickly and more conveniently
—  We can write reviews for products we buy; we can
self-publish books or blogs
—  We can also contribute to wikis
—  But before we look at how wikis work, let’s talk about
another medium to share information in the form of
an audio file
Podcasts/Webcasts (p. 94)

—  These are audio files you can upload into a website

and share with the rest of the world, if you choose to
—  Sites such as CBC Radio, TVO or TED talks include
the use of audio files/podcasts
—  But more popular these days are webcasts, which can
also be in the form of both video and audio
—  Audiovisual aids are very prominent now; e.g.,
YouTube and TED talks with entire videos of
presentations from professionals
—  Let’s listen to a podcast with a transcript
¡  https://www.esl-lab.com/
¡  https://www.esl-lab.com/elc/elcsc1.htm
Wikis (p. 95)

—  Has anyone here read from Wikipedia before?

—  Wikis are a web-based tool that allows people to
collaborate/work together on creating, accessing
and/or modifying documents online
—  Wikipedia = online encyclopedia
—  The advantage of a wiki is that is allows a
community of peers to work together and combine
their knowledge on a topic so interested readers can
learn a lot in one readable document
—  But how do businesses use wikis?
Wikis (p. 95-96)

—  Businesses use wikis to

¡  Reach people globally (everyone can access it)
¡  Connect with larger audiences
¡  Add to or replace meetings
¡  Help manage projects

—  Most wikis nowadays are no longer free to use

—  Because they need to be publicly funded to keep the
server running, it takes a lot of volunteers and
donations to keep a wiki system running
—  Alternatively, Google Docs and other Google Sites
can be used (we will be using these methods later)
Blogging for Business (p. 96)

—  Journal entries online, or blogging, help businesses

create virtual communities, build brands, and
develop relationships, especially with their
—  Blogging is a social media strategy that allows
engagement with people, which most likely results in
customers’ goodwill and brand loyalty
—  It can also be used to manage a crisis occurring in a
company, but blogging is not really the best
approach; an official announcement would be better
Blogging for Business (p. 96)

—  Blogging encourages a community to grow around a

brand or business
—  Viral marketing: the rapid spread of messages
online, much like infectious diseases that pass from
person to person
—  Although, nowadays, other social media platforms do
a much more efficient job (e.g., Instagram, Twitter or
—  Blogs can also be used for internal communication
within a company, which substitutes printed copies
Blogging for Business (p. 98-99)

—  Best Practices for Blogs

¡  Catchy and concise title
¡  Attention-grabbing opening

¡  Provide details in the body paragraph(s)

¡  Add visuals

¡  Include call(s) to action

¡  Edit and proofread

¡  Respond to any comments respectfully

—  https://1912pike.com/ (Starbucks blog)

—  http://blog.davidstea.com/en/ (DavidsTea blog)